Running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, I was able to reproduce your problem using both
unity-control-center (the default "System Settings" manager for Ubuntu) and
mate-display-properties (which implements "Monitor Preferences" for the MATE desktop alternative). If you just rotate the displays, it won't let you simply drag them closer together -- seems like a bug, maybe this one.
I was able to work around the issue by just messing around a bit (after setting the desired orientation). Here's a sequence that seems to work (given my particular starting arrangement):
- Drag display 3 to sit below and diagonal to display 1.
- Drag display 2 to sit adjacent to display 1.
- Drag display 3 to sit adjacent to display 2.
It's like some kind of sliding puzzle, where you can't go directly from the beginning to the end, but instead have to transition through intermediate "legal" states.
Below is a screenshot after the first step is completed.
EDIT: 3+ years later, I can no longer reproduce the fix that I posted here. There is clearly a bug in the MATE version of the tool.
ARandR is nice for multiple reasons:
- It doesn't suffer from the rotation bug (it knows the correct geometries for each display).
- It doesn't have the snapping feature, so you can put the displays where you want them.
- It lets you save your layouts as a shell scripts -- giving you a quick way to restore prior states